Virginia police officers were accused of assaulting a US Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario by pointing their guns and pepper-spraying him during a traffic stop , according to an official report.
Officer Joe Gutierrez was terminated from his employment after an investigation determined he did not follow policies set by the police department, the town of Windsor, Virginia, said in a statement on Sunday.
The two sides in the case had disputed what happened during the incident. At the time, Nazario was coming from his duty station and going home, lawyer Jonathan Arthur told The Associated Press on Friday.
It added that disciplinary action and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented after the incident.
The firing comes after Nazario filed a lawsuit against the two police officers in federal court over what court papers say was a violent traffic stop on December 5, 2020, where officers pointed their guns, knocked him to the ground, pepper-sprayed him and “threatened to murder him”.
Nazario, who is Latino and Black, alleged Gutierrez and Crocker violated his constitutional rights, with his lawsuit including assault, illegal search and illegal detention.
Earlier on Sunday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said he was directing the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the case.
The town of Windsor joined the governor in calling for an investigation of the incident by the Virginia police and a full review of the actions of the two police officers.